In the first of our ‘Civic Insights’ series, Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students (OfS) discusses improving local prosperity and the big challenge facing Higher Education in 2021.

In his piece, Chris explores the role that higher education plays in local prosperity, the importance of multi agency partnerships in creating pathways to higher education for the most disadvantaged and how changes may need to be made to access and participation plans  ‘to address the new imperatives arising from the pandemic’ including an increase in students deciding to study in their local area.

“We know that people who study and work where they grew up are less likely to graduate into highly
skilled jobs, particularly in those parts of the country with the lowest levels of productivity. So, the
increase we are seeing in local study year on year has implications for inequality in relation to the
outcomes arising from higher education, not just access to it. “

download the full piece here

Join Us

To coincide with the publication of the blog, we would like to invite you to a panel event ‘Improving local prosperity through pathways and participation’ taking place on Wednesday 10 February, 13.30 – 15.00

Coronavirus is hitting the most disadvantaged people and communities the hardest. In education, the impacts are far reaching with the loss of learning in 2020 already predicted to have reversed progress on school attainment back to that of a decade ago. Places deemed most vulnerable prior to the pandemic are bearing the brunt in terms of lost jobs and earnings, and these are areas which typically have the lowest levels of higher education participation. But at the same time, students are increasingly looking at more local options as a result of the pandemic, which might create new opportunities for universities to serve their local communities, if we can promote better pathways and progression routes, particularly to disadvantaged students. As disruption and uncertainty continue into 2021, the connection between access and participation agendas and local prosperity has arguably never been more important, or more challenging.

Join us to discuss how universities, government and civic partners might promote participation and address the prosperity puzzle at a Civic University Network panel.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Chris Millward – Director for Fair Access and Participation, The Office for Students
  • Dr Omar Khan – Director, TASO and Member of Civic University Network Advisory Group
  • Sammy Wright – Lead Commissioner for Schools and HE, Social Mobility Commission, Vice Principal of Southmoor Academy, Sunderland
  • Professor Trevor McMillan – Vice-Chancellor, Keele University
book a place here

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation, The Office for Students